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R. Scott McIsaac (GS), KC Huang (former post-doc), and Ned Wingreen (fac)
Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Department of Molecular Biology
During early development, embryos use stored chemical energy to propagate signals that aid in the synchronization of cellular divisions. A mathematical model that describes such divisions can admit different classes of solutions. Our entry is a heat map of one chemical species in this model whose dynamics can become chaotic or fractal-like due to slight asymmetries in the initial conditions. Such theoretical predictions raise a question of great interest: how can an embryo reconcile this apparent sensitivity to asymmetry with the need to robustly produce synchronous cellular divisions?